Sad Ending, Happy Ending: Cautionary Tales For Entrepreneurs

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It’s not news that larger companies sometimes buy smaller ones just to kill potential competition. For some entrepreneurs, this isn’t entirely a bad thing. You can adopt Hemingway’s advice about selling stories to Hollywood, which was to take the money at the California border and don’t look back. If you feel you’ve been adequately compensated for your idea and hard work, you may feel only a twinge to let your innovation die. And then you can move on to your next project.

But for those who care passionately about the products they have developed and the customers they intend to serve, this outcome to a “sweetheart” deal can be devastating. Here are two true, cautionary tales, and some thoughts about how you can protect yourself. Read more

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How Can There Be Any Sin In Sincere?

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How to prevent tone-deaf messaging from undermining your careful (and expensive) brand positioning

 

How can there be any sin in sincere? Where is the good in goodbye?

So begins one of the many charming and wry songs in Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man. The flowery expressions of sincerity that follow are about as insincere as you can get, and very funny. It’s not funny at all, however, when Read more

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How To Make A How-To Video

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9 Simple tips For Success On Your Next How-To Video

In an Adobe webcast of a new-product event, an MC is introducing the presenters to an audience of product users. As he calls each name, the individual steps forward to polite clapping. But when he calls the name “Terry White”, the  audience erupts in cheers and wild applause. Some people jump to their feet. Later, during breaks in the presentation, people ask for his autograph.

So who is Terry White to inspire such devotion? Technology visionary? Hipster coder? European design guru?

Nope. Terry White explains things. In short, efficient videos, Read more

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Kicking Off The Dust Of This Old Email: The Zero-Message In-Box

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On August 23, 2014, I moved out of my email program. The place had grown crowded and overwhelming, a musty storeroom crammed with teetering boxes of stuff that was mostly necessary, but much too hard to manage.

I wanted to spend more of my time in the rest of my work, which is a lot more fun and many times more productive. I wanted to hang out in our team project-management app, where the light is better and there are other people. (And, not incidentally, I’m paying for it every month.)

So over the course of fourteen days — an hour before work, two or three hours after, and three weekends of very long days — I reduced my email from 16,500 and change to zero.  Read more

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Tongue-Tied

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Another in the occasional series of Ad Poetry Fridays. 

I cannot say I have vast experience
Being interviewed by the press
On my few occasions, I have enjoyed it

I found it pleasant, and flattering
And if they use your quote
You can tell your friends on LinkedIn Read more

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Whether you blog, tweet, or update web content, here are answers to 7 important questions that can help keep you out of trouble and prevent embarrassment.

FAQs: Copyright Guidelines for Content Creators

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Originally posted Feb. 26, 2012

When you first launch your website, blog, newsletter, or Twitter feed, it’s an exciting moment. You can’t wait to fill your new forum with your original content. After a while, though, that forum starts to feel like a gigantic bucket with a hole in the bottom. No matter how much stuff you put into it, you still need more Read more

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Smart Guy

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Another in the occasional series of Ad Poetry Fridays

I know you have two PhDs
and a Masters in Engineering
I have seen your diplomas
On the wall of your office
In the conference room
In the lobby
And for some reason I don’t quite understand
Posted over the mirror in the ladies’ room

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Mies van der Rohe Is Dead And He’s Not Buying Insurance

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Or, Sometimes “Less Is More” Is Less Than Zero

In an meeting at an insurance company, a brand executive said this:  “The email copy is too long.” Then he quoted Bauhaus School architect Mies van der Rohe: “Less is more.”

The email letter was a grand total of three sentences. No exaggeration – three sentences. (I was reminded of comedian David Steinberg, who was advised, early in his career, to shorten his name to something less Jewish. “Shorten it to what?” he asked. “St ?”)

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